BLM seeks input on TransWest line routes

The Bureau of Land Management is asking for community advice on a study they put together to evaluate possible routes the TransWest transmission line could take through Moffat County.

They want to bring this conversation to the public, said Beverly Gorny, the public affairs specialist for the BLM office in Cheyenne, Wyo.

“This is a public process. We do this in the public venue,” she said.

They will be hosting several meetings at locations that would be affected by the transmission lines to talk to community members and leaders.

The BLM’s meeting in Craig will run from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Colorado Northwest Community College.

Sharon Knowlton, BLM project manager for the study said she will be at the meetings two hours ahead of time so she can talk with “county cooperators.” Their goal, she said, was to stay on BLM lands while avoiding sage grouse habitats.

County Commissioner Tom Mathers said he isn’t confident these conversations won’t be controversial.

“It’s been a real pain because the BLM wanted (the TransWest line) to go down the Highway 13 corridor, but there’s so many private properties. We thought it’d be a nightmare.”

The BLM’s recommended route for the line would be along Sevenmile Ridge, said Knowlton, that was Moffat County’s preferred route.

Mathers is hoping they can find a resolution that would allow the transmission line to come through Moffat County because he said it could bring in tax money.

“We battle with BLM and we should be working hand in hand,” he said. “All wealth comes from natural resources, and that’s what Moffat County has ... natural resources.”

The BLM’s study doesn’t get specific enough, said Dinosaur National Monument Superintendent Mary Risser. Because the routes the BLM suggested cover a 2-mile wide corridor, Risser said she couldn’t speak to her exact feelings because she wasn’t sure which path TransWest could take.

“The public doesn’t have complete information about the proposal to use park service land for industrial use,” Risser said. “We don’t think it’s really appropriate to go over a park service area, but we’re waiting for more information.”

The documents detailing the possible routes for the transmission line are on the BLM’s website. Gorny said people should pore over the information and come to the meeting to address concerns.

“It’s very important that if there are concerns and questions, they come to the meeting,” she said.

Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com

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